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November 11, 2002

From the Houston Chronicle, via Charles Kuffner, here’s California Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D):
Lockyer made it clear long before evidence turned up implicating Enron that he wanted to prosecute Ken Lay, then the company chairman.

“I would love to personally escort Lay to an 8-by-10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, `Hi, my name is Spike, honey,’ ” Lockyer told the Wall Street Journal.

I don’t care for Ken Lay, either, and I’m all for throwing the book at high-flying scam artists. But for an elected official to winkingly suggest that prison rape is an appropriate punishment is, well, a disgrace. To his office, to his party, and to his state.

Let’s read a little about in-prison rape. Don’t miss this prisoner’s suicide note, posted at the website of Stop Prisoner Rape.

Here’s a picture of a disgusting sack of shit. [06:48 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on From the Houston Chronicle,:

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2002, 08:54 PM:

The use of violent criminals to subdue political offenders (i.e., just about anybody rocking the boat) was, according to Solzhenitsyn, endorsed by Lenin and Stalin. Lenin called violent criminals "socially friendly elements." I don't think this sort of thing will really stop until the higher-ups, like the man you picture, are prosecuted for conspiracy. Fat chance. I remember back in the Vietnam war days, a protester awaiting bail did successfully sue the Washington, DC governement when he was intentionally/negligently (your pick) set up to be repeatedly raped in the DC jail. That was, of course, around 30 years ago...

Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2002, 10:37 AM:

The State of California has long been all for prosecuting anyone they can blame for its energy crisis other than their own mismanagement of their own half-assed attempt at "deregulation" (cap consumer prices but let the market prices run rampant, and bail out of all of your long-term contracts with locked-in prices while you're about it). Since companies like Enron no longer have deep pockets, they've turned to putting all the blame on companies not unlike the one I work for.

Good Libertarian Sam ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2002, 05:26 PM:

I'm happy to see that some Democrats are not so partisan that they won't criticize another Dem when he says despicable things. I wish such principled fairness were more common. One of the things that drove me from the Democratic Party was Clinton's pushing through the 1996 Anti-Terrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act, the gravest threat to civil liberties since Executive Order 9066 of 1942. It surpasses even Bush's despicable USA PATRIOT Act. Yet aside from a few ACLU types, no one--certainly not the Dems--voiced a single criticism.

Another example of Democrat double standard: When Clinton, under highly dubious circumstances, bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory--without consulting the UN, Congress, the National Security Council, or even his own Cabinet--in complete violation of international law...again not a sound from the Dems. I hope Patrick's willingness to denounce political sleaze on all fronts represents a new attitude among Democrats. If this catches on, maybe I can come back to the Party.

Stephanie Zvan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2002, 08:35 PM:

Sam, I'm a little confused--and curious. How many Democrats do you know, and how involved in the party were you? I heard plenty of howling on both of these decisions/issues from Democrats, Republicans, independents, the news media--pretty much all over. Admittedly, the legality of the bombings in Sudan and Afghanistan wasn't roundly debated, but the country had already had a very similar argument earlier that decade. The debate or lack thereof wasn't really a product of a Democratic administration.

However, the administration from which you've taken both your examples probably did play a role in the unwillingness of Democratic leadership to be terribly vocal when they disagreed with the president. After all, the most vilified president since Nixon hardly needs discouragement from his own party, especially when he's charismatic and canny enough to be pushing some of their agenda through an opposition legislature.

If you think that Democrats are unwilling to denounce "sleaze," I suggest you go talk to Condit or Toricelli. Heck, ask _Clinton_ how soundly he got his butt chewed by his own party.

One more thing. No offense to Patrick intended at all, but do you really intend to change political allegiance based on the thoughts of a blogger, rather than party leadership or working politicians? If you feel that you have to belong to a party, shouldn't it be the party with the greatest likelihood of running this place the way you think it should be run?

G L Sam ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2002, 08:47 PM:

"the most vilified president since Nixon hardly needs discouragement from his own party, especially when he's charismatic and canny enough to be pushing some of their agenda through an opposition legislature."

So Clinton gets a pass on the most contemptible piece of legislation of the last twenty years because he's "our" guy? If either one of the Bushes had pushed that Act through, he would have been rightly vilified by the left (as he and Ashcroft are rightly vilified for USA PATRIOT). When you sacrifice principles for expediency, you lose credibility.

Stephanie Zvan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2002, 09:01 PM:

Actually, he got a "pass" on it because there were very few people left to throw stones. A very large number of them voted for it. It's very easy to pass very bad legislation when the country (read "constituents") are feeling threatened. People demand that their representatives do something to protect them, never spending much thought on how that might threaten them in turn.

And I didn't say that was why they agreed with him against their better judgement. I just said it was why they were unwilling to have screaming hissy fits in public places.

GLS ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2002, 09:08 PM:

"a very large number of them voted for it."

Yep. Which is why I left the party.

Stephanie Zvan ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2002, 08:46 AM:

Sam, I think the point you're missing is, Who voted against it? Who were the seven (nine?) senators who were willing to explain to their consitutents why this was a rotten law? For that matter, who was responsible for the changes made to the law in the House that made it slightly less reprehensible? It wasn't the Libertarians.

Supporting a nonruling party because they are the only ones showing uncompromising support of principle is at best naive and at worst intellectually and ethically lazy. The naive view says that you fail to realize that these are untested people who have never faced the need to get into and stay in office in order to have an effect.

The lazy view says that if you're going to hold against a party eveything members of the party have done, you should probably start looking much earlier in history. After all, the Democrats were not "the party of Lincoln." If you abandon this as ridiculous, which I strongly suggest you do, you're left with the question of how long to hold a grudge--and the reasons you joined the party in the first place.

Chances are good that when you decided to join the Democrats, you did so because they were the party most likely to move the world you live in closer to your ideal world. Has that changed? Are the Libertarians really more likely to be able to do that than the Democrats? Has your support of their party substantially increased the odds of this happening (because if you're honest with yourself, you recognize just how big a change is needed)?

If you answer no to any of those questions, and you're not doing everything you ethically can to see the candidates and/or the party who will realize your goals into office, you're hurting yourself. Because while it's always easy to say, "Hmm, I like this uncompromised Libertarian better than this compromised Democrat," they aren't the only people in the race. They're not even always both in the running.

But if you still can't bear embracing the party that burned your idealism, there is one thing you should be doing. Learn all you can about instant-runoff elections and start agitating. They give you the luxury of a meaningful second choice. Of course, until then, it's time to realize you may not always have one.

Good Libertarian Sam ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2002, 01:39 PM:

If you're comfortable supporting the Democratic Party no matter what it does, so be it. But when the leadership of the party is happy to sacrifice a fundamental principle--and for no greater puropose than a feeble attempt to pander to the public and outmaneuver Republicans--then I will withdraw my support until such time as the party has new leaders who demonstrate a firm commitment to those principles I hold so dear.

Call it naivete, if you wish, but I would call your defense of those Democrats who passed the Anti-Terrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act cynical opportunism and power worship.

By the way, this does not mean that I would never vote for individual Democratic candidates. If their records show a strong commitment to civil liberties, they have my vote. But the party can no longer expect my automatic allegiance.

Teddy Carroll ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2002, 02:49 PM:

If I hear any more of this "you can't be properly politically active unless you're on the winning team" crap, I think I'm going to vomit!

Political activism is not about being on the winning team. It's about voicing your opinion. It's about being active. And that activity is, in the end, all that matters. It is not devaluated because a vote is cast for a candidate who has no hope of winning ... yet.

Just a little reminder to those who don't know: Perot's votes in '92 did not belong to Bush the Elder and Nader's votes in '02 didn't belong to Gore. They belonged solely and completely to those who cast them to cast them in anyway they deemed fit. A vote is not wasted if it is not cast for the winner; it is only wasted if it is not cast.

Stephanie Zvan ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2002, 11:01 PM:

Sam, where in the words "bad," "rotten," and "reprehensible" are you finding a defense of the bill or the people who voted for it? All I said about the Democrats is that they had the best voting record on the subject out of all the parties who actually had to make a choice and face the people they pledged to represent. I can tell myself all I want to that I wouldn't have done the same thing, but I don't see me putting myself in the position of having to test that.

I don't worship power, but I am respectful of the fact that it carries with it dilemmas that I don't really want to face personally. If cynicism is the recognition that in a nation of million people, not everyone is going to get exactly what they want and that compromise is the only thing that keeps us from tearing each other up trying to get it, fine; I'm a cynic. And while "opportunism" is a moral dilemma to be debated forever, well, read the stuff on consequences below.

As for joining a political party, I'm not really big on the idea myself, mostly for reasons that are fairly personal. However, you seem rather taken with the concept, so I suggested that you might want to give it more thought than your posts indicated. In fact, your original post suggested that you were looking for a good reason to go back to the Democrats. I thought I'd challenge some of your concepts and see if you couldn't find one for yourself.

Teddy, I didn't say that any votes are invalid. In fact, I said that all votes have consequences (including abstention). Sometimes our choices among the consequences of the votes we could make will be awful, or at least imperfect--not in keeping with our principles. Does that absolve us of thinking about the consequences of a particular choice? Does it allow us to pretend that our choice doesn't have these consequences, simply because it wouldn't in an ideal world or some time in an ideal futur? It doesn't work that way.

As for political activism, instant run-off elections are designed to make choices favoring activism more palatable, less of the sort of moral dilemma I've been talking about. Having been raised in the land of 10,000 political parties, and having voted for candidates from at least four of them, I consider that pretty important.

Speaking of which, considering how many people I saw being interviewed coming out of their polling places after having voted for Jesse Ventura "as a joke," I can't agree that a vote can't be wasted. However, it is a good demonstration that even "wasted" votes have consequences.

Teddy Carroll ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2002, 08:38 AM:

Considering, verbal gaffes and the XFL aside, that The Body has a very defensible record over the last four years in MN, I'm still as certain as ever that a cast vote can never be wasted.

Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2002, 01:52 PM:

Thanks for hammering on the prison rape issue--it's obvious why prison administrators permit it (too much work to stop it and/or it's an administrative conveniance), but I don't know why mainstream culture finds it so amusing.

Craig Huffner ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2002, 04:49 PM:

At last, back on topic. Mainstream culture finds prison so amusing probably because of the "what goes around comes around" and "eye for an eye" ethos. Much of the public thinks nothing's too bad for a convict. What they don't realize is that prison rape brutalizes both the raped and the rapists, making even more violent, dangerous, and sociopathic prisoners who will eventually return to society. Even from a purely self-interested point of view, the public ought to demand a stop to prison rape.

Impeach Bill Lockyer.

Harvard@Cal ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2002, 12:07 PM:

"If you think that Democrats are unwilling to denounce "sleaze," I suggest you go talk to Condit or Toricelli. Heck, ask _Clinton_ how soundly he got his butt chewed by his own party."

ummm...the once and future minority leader of senate, didn't she give the thumbs up to Condit when the Senate was voting on censure or some such?
Toricelli was "denounced" only after it became clear to all that he was gonna lose big time.
Clinton was not "butt chewed" (something Lockyear probably supports in San Q) but was the beneficiary of Democratic DefenseTM (libel the opposition, divert attention, attack motives regardless of substance). I too left the Demo party back in 1992, at the exact point when the relevations of Clinton's "bimbo eruptions" triggered accusations of Bush Senior having some equal fidelity problems, conviently using a dead aide as the red herring. Dispicable. Became a card carrying Libertarian.

And Robert L, you got that right as gospel.